Tag: Ford

Celebrating the original Pony car with Shelby South Africa on World Mustang Day

April 17th is the anniversary date that many historians would associate with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which saw a failed coup of Castro’s Communist Cuban government by the USA. To the average auto enthusiast it is perhaps the day to celebrate the birth-date of former Formula 1 driver and flame-jumper Romain Grosjean. However, for the American muscle car fanatic or V8 obsessed aficionado, the day is reserved for the celebration of the first and most iconic Pony car: the Ford Mustang. For those of you enjoying the history lesson, read on. 

It is the early 1960’s and the world is experiencing an economic boom as a result of the consumerist ready baby-boomers (before they lost the plot and ruined it all). There is a palpable excitement with the space race between the two global superpowers, bolstering the world’s obsession with speed. Events like Formula 1, Le Mans and the Indy 500 are being broadcast via radio around the world and are often the buzz of motoring news. Headlines are being made with European automakers who are continually ousting their competitors for production car speed records. 

These were the conditions that made for a perfect storm, one that the Ford Mustang was born out of. There was an untapped market that appealed to the lust of affordable speed that the working class baby boomer was beginning to express interest towards. It consisted of four seats, two doors and was draped in the sheet metal bodylines synonymous with European sports cars of the time. Beautifully proportioned with a long hood and short rear overhang – the age old recipe for an attractive, sporty looking car. Ford General Manager at the time, Lee Iacocca wanted to be the first to market with this concept, one that if it succeeded would in essence create its own segment of vehicle – Ford’s car of the future.  

Thus on the 17th of April in 1964 at the World Fair hosted in New York, Henry Ford II himself unveiled the car for the first time. With a name which itself was embroiled in native history, shared by the free roaming wild horses of the Western United States and the American P-51 single seat fighter which liberated the Axis-occupied nations during World War 2. It was destined to be a true American Icon. 

The unveiling was coincidentally planned with the showroom debut of the new Pony car, which in its first day alone sold 22 000 units and eventually succeeded in selling 400 000 in its inaugural year. It earned instant fame and instilled itself in the hearts and minds of Americans while the opposition of Chevrolet, Dodge, AMC and Plymouth were left in awe, scrambling in disarray to get a piece of that cake. The Mustang was available in four engine configurations, the most powerful option equipped a 289ci (4.7 litre) V8 producing a respectable 202kW. It was the first time a sleek coupe was made affordable to the common man, weighing less than 2500lbs for under $2500.

In the span of just under 60 years, the Mustang has become one of the most identifiable American products to the rest of the world, arguably more American than consumerism itself. It has generated a strong rapport with popular culture and featured in dozens of movies and TV shows since that date in 1964. It made its big screen debut the same year of its release courtesy of James Bond’s 1964 Goldfinger while the seductive Eleanor Fastback from the 2000 automotive cinematic masterpiece, Gone in 60 Seconds was probably the most iconic to us younger generations (no I did not forget about Steve McQueen’s Bullitt, boomer).  

So, where does World Mustang Day originate from you may be asking? Shelby South Africa were gracious hosts in educating some of us less knowledgeable petrolheads on the history of the event which they have spearheaded locally. Upon the 50th anniversary of its unveiling, the golden jubilee in 2014 saw owners and fans celebrating the icon by arranging events which congregated owners and aficionados to honour the icon. It has subsequently garnered global attraction and morphed into a worldwide phenomenon which is now celebrated annually. It is a day where (mostly) V8 goodness reigns supreme with the affordable sports car rightfully being the focal point.

Among the impressive collection at the Shelby showroom were jaw dropping continuation models including the Shelby Daytona Coupe, Shelby Cobra and a GT40 – all equipped with monstrous V8’s. In polarizing fashion from its oil burning and inefficient precursors, the all new electric derivative in the Mustang stable hopes to be at the forefront of a new segment, it is Ford’s modern day interpretation of the car of the future just as the original was in 1964. Regardless, owners of the original Pony car remain stalwarts for the true American Icon. World Mustang Day is one of the celebratory events that makes me love being a car-guy, not only for experiencing the icons in the metal but for also embracing the best the community has to offer.

We Drive the New Ford EcoSport

Ford EcoSport

New Ford EcoSport Driven

What’s in a name, I mean, people have all sorts of interesting names these days and gone are the good old days of a ‘proper Christian name.’ The same can be said for cars with absurdities such as ‘Qashqai’ and ‘Superfast’ springing to mind. Imagine humans were named in the same vein as Ferrari’s – “Meet my son, Superfreckly and my daughter, Mediumround.”

 

Mind you, at least we know that the Superfast is indeed super-fast and that a 5 Series is larger than a 3 Series, yet smaller than a 7.  What a time to be alive.

Enter Fords economical and sporty EcoSport. It’s not what you might think, though – the ‘Sport’ in EcoSport suggests a more ‘sporty’ lifestyle as opposed to track day toy, but we already knew that.

Ford EcoSport

The Ford EcoSport has been a hot seller in South Africa since its initial release in May 2013 and now having received its third and most significant update, promises to continue its streak of strong sales. The numbers speak for themselves with the Ford EcoSport accounting for as much as 14% of Ford sales in South Africa. It also leads in its segment making up for 38% of its segment, down from 49% initially. In short, the EcoSport is popular in our market so there’s no doubt that the improved design, quality and safety of this vehicle will stand it in good stead.

Design wise, the most notable differences can be seen at the front of the vehicle and in the cabin. The new hood with power dome sits above a new and distinctively Ford grille and the standard HID headlamps with LED daytime running lights (Trend and Titanium models only) contribute to more premium look up font. New colours and alloy wheel options are available, too.

Having received quite the revamp, the cabin of the new EcoSport really is a lovely place to be. New instrument clusters, SYNC screen options and a new steering wheel with standard paddle shifters (on auto models sit amongst other updates such as new interior materials, a completely redesigned instrument panel, newly designed climate control console and ambient lighting below the instrument panel.

Both petrol and diesel variants are available, however the diesel is only available in base Ambiente guise. This is because in this segment, petrol is still king and as a result, the Ford EcoSport’s line-up reflects that.

Ford’s tried, tested and triumphant 1.0-litre EcoBoost motor does service in the petrol model and having won Engine of the Year 6 times, that’s a good thing. It provides punchy low down torque and always feels eager to get going, yet returns an impressive claimed 5.4 l/100km. Figures of 92 kW and 170 N.m are more than ample and the petrol motors have been paired wonderfully with either a 6-speed manual or all-new 6-speed automatic transmissions.

For those who still insist on a bit of oil burning, the Ambiente model is only available with Ford’s 1.5-litre TDCi motor, mated to a 5-speed manual with figures of 74 kW, 205 N.m and claimed 4.6 l/100km.

Safety wise, all vehicles benefit from the usual array of standard safety equipment such as ABS, EBA and ESC. Dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard across the range with Trend and Titanium models receiving a driver’s knee airbag too.

In terms of spec, the whole range is pretty sorted. Ambiente models receive SYNC 1 with Bluetooth and voice control, electric windows all-round, steering wheel audio controls, Ford audio with 6 speakers and 2 USB ports, rear PDC, rear fog lamp, remote central locking, a trip computer and 16” steel wheels with covers.

 

In addition to this, Trend models receive a black grille with upper chrome, roof rails, body colour mirrors and door handles, SYNC 3 with 6.5” Touchscreen, LED daytime running lights, 16” alloy wheels, front and rear fog lamps, Hill Launch Assist, Roll Stability Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, and a leather gear knob and steering wheel.

In addition to all of that, Titanium models come specced to the hilt with silver roof rails, lower body cladding in black with chrome inserts, power adjustable folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps, 17” alloy wheels, auto headlamps, rain sensing wipers, Keyless start, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter, electronic climate control, SYNC 3 with 8” touchscreen with navigation, Ford Audio with 7 high-end speakers, centre console with covered bin and sliding armrest and ambient lighting.

To wrap this up, Ford have taken what was already a popular and capable lifestyle vehicle and given it the updates needed to keep it fresh for the next while. The EcoSport is refined, fun to drive, practical and well put together, well equipped and now with its new face, handsome too.

Ford EcoSport Pricing in South Africa

Pricing starts at R264 500 for the 1.5 TDCi Ambiente manual and stretches to R339 900 for the 1.0 Ecoboost Titanium automatic.

All vehicles come standard with Ford Protect’s comprehensive 4 years/120 000km warranty, 5 years/unlimited km corrosion warranty, 3 years/unlimited km roadside assistance and 4 years/60 000km service plan. Service intervals are 15 000km.

 

Updates to the 2018 Ford Ranger

2018 Ford Ranger Fx4

Ford Ranger Updated for 2018

The locally produced and very popular Ford Ranger has undergone updates for the fast approaching year of 2018. The updates are as follows:

Front Park Assist

Front Park Assist is now fitted as standard on all Ranger XLT and Fx4 models. This will complement the rear sensors and camera and provide increased safety for tight manoeuvers.

Fx4 Treatment 

The Fx4 kit was previously only available on the Ranger 3.2 Double Cab XLT 4×4, but due to popularity, the Fx4 treatment will now be available in limited quantities on all XLT models, including the 2.2 and 3.2-litre variants – both manual and automatic.

The Ranger Fx4 also sees new styling changes in the form of black finishes across the front grille, fog lamp bezels, exterior mirrors, roof rails, as well as the door and tailgate handles. Ford didn’t hold back with the black touches, as the alloy wheels, side steps, rear bumper and tubular sports bar also receive this effect.

Spay-in Bed Liner

For the first time, customers can spec a spray-in bed liner directly from the factory as a cost option. This is the same product used on the Ford F 150 since 2008 and aligns with Ford’s Ford’s stringent engineering specifications. A benefit to this is that minor and major repairs to the spray-in liner can be done at Ford dealerships and is covered by Ranger’s standard four-year/120 000km warranty.

Ford Ranger 2018

Limited Edition Fx4 Ford Ranger in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 has been added to the South African range.

There’s a new version of the Ford Ranger and Ford describe it as “stunning.” Describing your new product as “stunning” is much the same as when a restaurant describes a dessert as being “delicious” on their own menu. I will be the judge of that, thank you very much!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “stunning” but it is quite nice. And it’s certainly striking. Based on the Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 4×4, the Fx4 receives a number of visual only enhancements, as well as Ford’s latest SYNC 3 Navigation and infotainment system. The Ranger is arguably the benchmark in its segment with its “car-like” demeanour – its comfortable, refined and really is the kind of bakkie one can drive every day, in comfort.

Apparently the Fx4 nomenclature has something to do with the F-Series pickups in the US, but that’s about as far as the similarities go – Americans would consider this rather large vehicle a bit of a joke if parked up next to an F-250.

More specifically, the Fx4 gets black finishes for the grille, fog lamp surrounds, exterior mirrors, roof rails and door handles. The side steps, rear bumper and sports bar come in Panther black which should all go nicely with the aftermarket “Raptor” look-alike grille the Fx4’s owners will almost certainly fit the moment they take delivery, as most Ranger owners do.

Interesting side note – there have actually been reports of these “Raptor” grilles causing engine cooling issues on Ranger models. Not surprising, however, as these modifications are not OEM items and as such were likely never tested further than fitment, because they look kiff, bru.  

The Ranger Fx4 is available in just four colours – Panther Black, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Frozen White and can be had with either an automatic or manual transmission.

Pricing is R593 900 for the manual and R608 900 for the automatic. Both come standard with a 4 year/ 120 00km warranty and 5 year/100 000km service plan with 3 years/ unlimited km roadside assistance.

Stunning? Perhaps not. Relatively good value for money and a stealthy version of the best bakkie you can buy? More likely.

 

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Updates To The Ford Mustang

Nearly one month into 2017 and it would seem that Ford is off to a hot start. Having been around in South Africa for all of about 5 minutes, the Ford Mustang is already receiving its mid-life update and along with its rather sad new face comes a host of technologies and three new colours.

One of the highlights of the updated Mustang is its new 12-inch LCD instrument cluster. Offering various personalisation options and three separate views, it’ll surely appeal to the younger generation of Mustang owner as opposed to the older, die-hard fans. A vast array of driver-assist technology can now be had with your ‘Stang with features such as lane-keep assist, driver alert and pre-collision assist, making your prancing horse all the more aware of what’s going on around it.

If you hate the current Mustang’s speaker delivered engine note then you’ll be pleased to know that “a fully variable soundtrack to match the entire acceleration range” has somehow made a comeback. The engine note can be “adjusted” which makes no sense and an all-new active valve exhaust is optional on the Mustang GT, which does.

Ford SYNC stays and will probably work just as Ford SYNC always has and FordPass is now available which allows owners to start, unlock, lock and locate their vehicles at the swish of a smartphone.

MagneRide adaptive suspension can now be had with the Performance Package and improvements to the lateral stiffness and stabiliser bars along with new shock absorbers across the range improve handling.

To match the improved handling, the 5.0-litre V8 motor has been reworked and delivers more power and is more fuel-efficient thanks to Ford’s new dual-fuel high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection which delivers meaty low-end torque and high-rpm power. The 2.3 Ecoboost 4-pot puts out a little more torque thanks to some fettling of the overboost function.

The V8 Stang’s 6-speed manual has been completely redesigned, making use of a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel which increases torque capability and delivers more efficient modulation of the clutch. Automatic Mustangs now come with too many gears so while you’re trying to find the reason why you bought an automatic Mustang, at least the gearbox has enough time to decide which of its 10 ratios it feels like using.

New interior trims and finishes and slightly better build quality should give the Mustang a slightly more upmarket feel than before and if that’s not enough for you, it has a new key with a different looking horse on it. Innovation, you know.

The new Mustang goes on sale in Trumpland in fall, whenever that is, but judging by how long we had to wait for the last one, America might have a new president by the time it arrives in South Africa.